Friday, March 30, 2007
1) Years ago, I freelanced on a craptastic "Littlest Pet Shop" series. In the opening of one of my eps, I needed the pet shop owner to be distracted on the phone, so the animals could...engage in clever comedic hijinks (at least, I'm pretty sure that was the intent). So, as we fade up, the shop owner is in mid-conversation and says:
"Egrets? I've had a few...But, then again, too few to mention."
A total throwaway, about as non "kid relatable" as you can get, and I understand why it got cut - but it still makes me laugh.
2) 1st season of "Yin, Yang, Yo". Episode where Yin puts her special 'two-nicorn' doll on a stool, Master Yo sits on it and crushes it - the two-nicorn horns stick in his butt - and Yin and Yang go on a journey to get the doll fixed. They succeed, Yin puts the doll on the stool, and I pitched the following line as Yo sits on the doll again:
"Dang it - that's my second painful stool of the day!"
Hey...it killed at the board punch.
::Getting footage back that is 3 to 4 minutes short is a bitch to deal with ::
Then roy said:
I've never, EVER seen this happen. Every single artist I know in the industry complains that their scripts are too long and they work their asses off on whole sequences that just wind up getting cut for time.Are they all just full of shit or lying?I doubt it.
They're not lying. But I can tell you, there is a mentality of "I would rather be over than under," and while I'd like to not be three or four minutes over, I like having extra footage to cut.
And as frustrating as it must be for an artist to see their work not end up in the cartoon, it's easier to subtract than add.
The way I protect myself against that so I don't have to go way over on a cartoon? I try to make sure there's at least one or two gags in the show that can be elongated... In that "It's funny, it's not funny, it's funnier" sort of beat structure. I'm aware, at the animatic phase - what things I think can be used, used again, and used in future episodes for cutaway gags.
For a 10:20 cartoon, we tend to get animatics back at 11:00 and, once we fiddle with it, it still ends up about ten to twenty seconds short... most of the time.
::perhaps we have learned from experience that one minute per page doesn't work for the kind of shows we work on?::
How would a writer know? Since when do writers deal with the animation timing?
Well, as a writer that deals with the timing of my shows, and since the shows I do are in flash, giving me the ability to sit at a computer with my editor and say "add four more frames of hold," or "make that fall happen in two frames," - I think it goes writer to writer.
Like I say over and over again... I'm trying to learn the skills, and the language, to make better cartoons.
Roy Also replied:
I'd also question your definition of the term "work"... does a "working script" in your opinion require a bunch of editing and rewriting and revising once the storyboard is finished?
Somewhere else, Vincent said:
I've worked on Script shows and I've worked on Storyboard shows, and I feel the Storyboard shows are funnier. The more funny people you have trying to push a shows humor forward, the more chance you have for said show to be funny.At Spumco everyone looked at everyone's boards and if they thought of something to push the story or a gag, they would share that thought. If it made the finale product better, stronger, and funnier it went in to the show. It was a constantly growing and morphing process.
And that's how I define "working" the story after the script is finished. After the record, we look at the board and punch it. After the punch, we look at the animatic and punch it. After the take one returns, we look at the cartoon and we try to plus it - and if we want to create new animation and place it in the cartoon, we have an in-house flash team that can aniamte stuff.
The show isn't done until it delivers.
Vincent also said, somewhere else:
On script shows the polar oppisite is true. My experience has been that once a show is locked into script, very little is going to done to plus the content. Everyone starts to worry that THIS is the Approved Script, we shouldn't alter it.
In fact when I got into this business, if as a Storyboard Guy you started altering content of a script, you wouldn't be around long. I would get red scribbles on Slimmer Storyboards from the writer showing the angle he preferred the scene to be staged.
Ick. When a storyboard artist points out something in a script that's going to be a nightmare, I try to listen. When a board artist has an idea that makes things easier, or better, or funnier or more economical, I listen.
Yes, there are absolutely times that "I want what I want," but that's what comes out of being in charge. I'm either right, or wrong, but the decision falls to me when those responsibilities are entrusted to me.
That being said, if I don't listen to the people who know execution better than I do - people who were HIRED because of that skill - I'm an idiot.
It's funny, because this debate takes two turns:
* Don't lock the script, because it might change.
* If you change the script, your script sucks.
I think the answer is this: On a script-driven show, the production has to be just as flexible in changing things as you would on a board driven show... especially in comedies, you have to look at the script as you would a "thumbnail pitch" and know minutia of the script might change as the story unfolds. If the story changes? That's a crappy script.
One of the reasons I don't like outlines in 11 minute cartoons is that I think the story goes where the story goes and nine times out of ten, that outline goes out the window. It's a waste of time and I don't make people writing on 11 minute comedies write them.
Let me repeat that, because it's important: It's a waste of time and I don't make people do it. Economy of production starts there, and hopefully, continues all the way through
It's animation. You can go anywhere and do anything. Why would you ever lock a show at the word stage when you can continue plussing it when the actual animating is happening?
Vincent also said:
The point you're all failing to see because you're so defensive about these issues is that these rules are GENERAL guidelines. A good animator can look at a script regardless of how many pages it is and tell you if it's likely to be too long or too short.The real point is that if someone tells you your scripts are coming in too long, you SHORTEN THEM.
But, yet again, here you have another issue where the overhwelming majority of animators are telling you what one of their problems with writers are and your response is simply to say "There's no problem. We're right, you're wrong."
Nah, I'm not. And it's absolutely something I could be better at.
Almost finally, Vincent also said:
I have been handed 62 page scripts for an eleven minute show. When I pointed out that this would be a problem, I was brushed off with "Oh but we're not doing one of those Nick type shows."
I don't even know what that means. Were Rugrat scripts 11 pages because you could write "The baby crawls" and know that would take 30 seconds?
When I started, I wrote some HEINOUSLY long scripts. It took smarter people than me to break me of that habit, and they did... for the most part.
And Finally, Vincent said:
We all over-write. I do it, you do it. One of things that seperates a good writer from the pack is the ability to say more with less, or you can just change the font size. Hahaha.... uh ya, that's not funny.
Well, I don't know who said it, but all writing is rewriting. Anybody who thinks their first anything is finished is either lazy, or fooling themselves.
And I might consider going back and looking at my responses, but... at least in this instance, I'm gonna be a little lazy.
Thursday, March 29, 2007
It was actually nice - seeing people I haven't seen in years, or only worked with once or twice. As always, people vowed to do it again. (Checking the date)
But... it made me think about anonymous posting.
I'm on the fence. I would prefer people be held accountable to their opinions, but I don't want to squelch pointed debate. That being said, it's internet, and anyone of us could masquerade as a 13 year old girl, and none would be the wiser.
So... I'll toss it out to the group. Should I leave anonymous up and running or take it down?
Wednesday, March 28, 2007
1. Non-sequitor gags requiring new visuals.
2. Scenes that have too many characters interacting.
3. Do the characters need to be doing odd tasks or moving through the scene for fear they may appear static?
4. Too much direction in the scripts. Let the board artist do what they do. (BTW - animators have some issues with some board artists as well)
5. Monologues that cause the board artists to overly "animate" the dialog.
6. Too many locations.
7. Abundant costume changes, lighting, color etc. of pre-existing models.
8. Crowd scenes
9. New characters
10. Singing and Dancing
11. New Exotic Locations
I've found that if you're writing a pilot, or other type of first draft that needs to be a "fun breezy read" then heavy directing on the page is going to send you into revisions. However, for most animation scripts, this here's the gospel. Folks aspiring to be seen as someone who knows how to write animation should check out the link below.
New authors: If you want to put your screen name, or blog name, up before your post... I think it'd be cool for the readers to know where it's coming from (even though it is at the bottom of the post.)
Try to put labels on your posts - because that's the stuff that gets the word out. Since the below post DOESN'T have them, I'll add them to this.
And, thank god, WELCOME!
P.S. Somebody read this in Taipei? Seriously?
Tuesday, March 27, 2007
The meeting was called to order at 12:02 AM after the usual opening ritual of pissing on Chuck Jones' grave, (we think it's THE Chuck Jones but most of us aren't even sure if the guy's alive or dead).
OLD BUSINESS - we received a report on Project K. Our mole in the artist community is doing a great job polarizing writers and artists and preventing them from having any meaningful dialogue that might improve things.
NEW BUSINESS - A plan to convince Cartoon Network to air live action shows but not change its name, thereby redfining cartoons to include live action was rejected as being too far fetched.
In short, our plan to destroy all cartoons by 2011 is currently on schedule.
Monday, March 26, 2007
Thursday, March 22, 2007
2) Stephen, I appreciate you being here but when a dude tells you he had a family member pass, take the time to express sympathy before going off on your tirade and saying he's too stupid to do anything. Jesus.
3) Starting next week, I'll try to post proactively instead of reactively, because I am getting a bit fatigued at cutting and pasting and I sort of agree that I should discuss the things I believe in, instead of the things I simply disagree with.
4) And speaking of which, and for the record, Robotaekwon , there was nothing in that recent John K post I disagreed with when it came to his criticism of the script he copied and pasted.
When he's not pissing in the direction of the laptop I write on, I find his knowledge and experience to be incredibly valuable.
A 24 page script for a 12 minute cartoon is indefensible, and that scene with every bird in the world is the kind of thing I would put in a script as an April Fool's Day gag to a friend. But I would let them know it was a joke before the first crow was drawn.
Most importantly: It's "weasel," not "weasle." If it's easier, I'm sure there are four letter words that you could call me that would be much, much simpler to spell.
5) Sometime in May, I'm going to set an evening of drinks, somewhere and invite anybody from here, and anybody from John's blog, to come out. THAT will be my first comment on his page.
Why? Because if all of this is theory, and none of this personal, we should all be able to hang like people and have civil, if not passionate, discussions in front of each other. Lurking animators? Got any favorite bars?
Stephen? Vincent? Bob? Anybody want to take the reins for your side of this and corral your side of the argument?
Wednesday, March 21, 2007
I spent a couple hours on the plane to Toronto writing an incredibly vitriolic post that went point for point on the post Stephen had said I was evading...
...only to land, log on, and see this:
You got it.
I'll say it up front - I'm not an encyclopedia of animation history, I just know what I like and I try to learn as I go.
But I am more than willing to learn from you, as well as talk (at the very least) about my theories on what I like in cartoons and how I like to produce them, as long as it's not some sort of ambush and I'm going to end up dead in a dumpster with a pencil jabbed through my heart and a wacom tablet smashed against my head.
(Note I used both pencil and technology out of respect to the evolving nature of the industry.)
I'll also winnow down the other post, as there's a lot of my theory in there and post that another day.
In the meantime... writers? Feel free to proactively talk about your influences (animated and written) and how it's shaped what you do.
Tuesday, March 20, 2007
I appreciate your giving me the opportunity to respond to John's comment.
Truthfully, I don't have the time nor interest to respond. I'm too
busy writing. John doesn't understand me, nor does he understand writing.
Ironically I was a cartoonist before I was a writer.
And thanks for saying hi.
Wow! Seems like a real jerk, huh? (Note: I am using a writer's tool called "Sarcasm" where I exaggerate to make a point. He is not a jerk. He seems like a class act.)
The point is this - you can talk until you're blue in the face about how writers don't belong in animation, but there are people out there who have been doing it just as long as you... but just in the written word.
And they are just as passionate about the form of entertainment as anyone else... and probably slightly less exclusionary than others.
P.S. For more information about Jeffrey Scott that's not tainted by fury and hate, you can either go here: Jeff's IMDB site Or to his actual website: http://www.jeffreyscott.tv
Monday, March 19, 2007
To be fair, I’ve been waiting for this because:
a) I knew it was coming (see previous blog).
b) This anti-writer attitude is one of the reasons I wanted to open a blog for writers. (Ahem, other writers, feel free.)
Before I start, I will say this: I am not going to attack John K. personally. I don’t know him personally. I will try to be fair professionally, because while he may not consider me an animation professional, I consider him a peer.
That being said, I’m going to go point for point on this . John K’s most recent post in ital, mine in bold.
That way you won't ask animators to do things that don't work in animation.You shouldn't write for any medium that you don't understand, because the people who have to actually make the medium will think you're an idiot and will waste their abilities trying make your awkward "ideas" seem smooth by patching them together with bandaids. That's the basic system the studios use today.”
Problem with your argument #1 – What makes a writer’s ideas any more or less awkward than yours? The basic argument – which is the only argument made here – is that the worst cartoonist is a better cartoon writer than the best cartoon script writer, and that’s horsecrap.
By those standards, the person drawing caricatures at Magic Mountain has more of right to be in animation than, oh I don’t know, a Paul Dini or an Alan Burnett. (Just to pick two names.)
“Ziggy” is done by a cartoonist. So is “Cathy.” You want to give Cathy Guisewite the money to animate that comic strip, then I say have at it. I'd rather throw that money into an open flame.
Would you trust a songwriter to write tunes if he had no way of playing you the tune-or even singing it to you?”
Yes, and those people are called “lyricists.”
It’s a small subsection of the musical community that write the words, and then work with people to bring those songs to life.
Well, here’s how I do it. With my head held high and, ideally, a great working relationship with the people who turn words into cartoons.
With the help of a talented director who has a vision for the show, who can turn the words on the page into the cartoon.
With the knowledge that I look at those people with respect, and understand how hard they’ve worked to get to the point they’re at, and hope that they have the same respect for me.
Knowing that whatever they’re working on is a step between where they started and where they want to be. I’m not so full of myself to think that the person who is working on whatever show I happen to be a writer on is so “honored” to be in my presence that they want nothing else in life.
At no point have I ever deluded myself into thinking that anybody could animate a cartoon… or that I would want just anybody to animate one of my scripts.
But then, that’s me… and a lot of other writers like me. I don’t feel the need to build myself up by pissing on someone else.
That’s one person’s opinion. Just one’s. Just as this blog is one person’s opinion. Mine. I’m not pretending to speak for an entire industry here and my gut tells me, neither was Jeffrey Scott.
“In other words, the magic is that you can slough off all the responsibility of having to know what you are doing on an artist. You don't have to do the hard part. You can write a bad live-action style epic with huge elaborate sets and a cast of thousands, and magically some poor artist (or hundreds of them) is stuck with making it happen - at 12 drawings a second.”
Here's a news bulletin for all cartoon writers: ANIMATION IS NOT CHEAPER THAN LIVE-ACTION. GET THAT CRAZY IDEA OUT OF YOUR HEAD. WE HAVE TO DRAW A PICTURE FOR EVERY 12TH OF A SECOND, SO MULTIPLY YOUR CROWD SCENES BY 12 AND THEN AGAIN BY HOW MANY SECONDS OF SCREEN TIME THE CARTOON IS ON FOR.
I am aware of this. I work with budgets and stay within them.
Lets play with some definitions here.
Instead of calling it the “hard part,” lets call it “labor intensive.” On a show where the story board artists aren’t writing, and are working from a script, this is a complaint about the amount of work that needs to be done, not the quality of the materials being produced.
I agree with the point about elaborate sets and crowd scenes. I agree those can be crutches. But if a writer on a script-driven show is working with producers, directors and board artists that are treated as equals and respected for their opinion… those things can be caught long before anybody has to spend too much time for too little pay off.
And if not, that’s what overtime is for.
One person cannot produce an animated series by himself.
“Obviously, drawing a storyboard gives you a much better idea if a scene or cartoon will work than writing it in words. You can just look at the storyboard in continuity and see it.
Even artists who try to write scripts realize this quickly.I learned by having to draw scenes I first "wrote" in words that some things I thought would work didn't. Then when I sat down and drew the ideas I invented many scenes, character bits and gags that I would never have thought of just by typing the ideas floating in my head and wasting time trying to verbalize them.
Whereas for me, that magic starts on the written page, and moves forward from there. You’re an artist. You draw your ideas. I’m a writer. I write mine. Which brings me to:
No, but he or she CAN explain what he wants differently and if the writer created that show, that’s life.
There is a difference between a job, and a career. Don’t think for one minute the person who was drawing a hammer or an anvil for your production isn’t waiting for the opportunity to sell their own project and be in charge.
Every production has people that are doing their job because it’s a job. And if you’ve never heard otherwise, it’s because people are afraid to be honest to a show’s creator or executive producer with the following:
You work on other people’s dreams because you love what you do, but unless you’re dead on the inside, you’re working to get better… so you get your chance to create something YOU want to create, and then get your vision out there.
John, as one human being to another, I’ll say this:
I respect your talent, I respect your history.
I hope someday I create something that matters as much to fans and the industry as much as your work does and did. And I’m not even saying you’re wrong, for your opinion, on how you want to create your cartoons.
But it amazes me how someone who has spent their entire career working in color can be so incredibly black and white.
John K writes about writing and writes about how much writers should not be writing cartoons... again.
Then, he writes about writing.
So... head on over to http://johnkstuff.blogspot.com, and take a peek. Don't go spamming the comment section and kicking up crap there - no good comes of that. It's not a writer-friendly blog. But that doesn't mean the blog doesn't have merit.
Still... take a peek. Because at some point, I'm sure, there's going to be something said there, that's worth discussing here. In fact, there already is.
But it's 6:45 AM, and right now, all I want is coffee.
Saturday, March 17, 2007
<< has filed a $2 million copyright infringement lawsuit against 20th Century Fox, claiming her cleaning woman character was portrayed on the animated series "Family Guy." The U.S. District Court lawsuit, which was filed Thursday, said the Fox show didn't have the 73-year-old comedian's permission to include her cleaning woman character, Charwoman, in an April 2006 episode.
Besides copyright infringement, Burnett alleges 20th Century Fox violated her publicity rights.
The studio said it was surprised by the lawsuit over what amounted to about an 18-second scene.
"`Family Guy,' like `The Carol Burnett Show,' is famous for its pop culture parodies and satirical jabs at celebrities. We are surprised that Ms. Burnett, who has made a career of spoofing others on television, would go so far as to sue `Family Guy' for a simple bit of comedy," said 20th Century Fox Television spokesman Chris Alexander.>>No kidding.
This effects you too. Whether you're writing a script, drawing a story board, creating a character, doing a voice... this matters.
There is nothing more cancerous to comedy than just the threat of a lawsuit. Lawyers for studios and networks, worried that they'll be called to the carpet for allowing some sort of breach, smooth out the edges of any reference humor in an attempt to prevent suits like this.
It makes it harder to be relevant.
It makes it tougher to do commentary.
It makes writing comedy less fun because you find yourself self-censoring.
Are you willing to not watch the Flintstones because it was an "homage" to the Honeymooners? Willing to avoid Bugs Bunny with his mobster villain that was clearly based on "Jimmy Cagney?" Willing to not enjoy your loving hand painted version of "Winnie The Pooh?" Never watch another South Park?
Because it's all or nothing on this one, folks. Either things are fair game, or they are not. You don't get "Mecha-Streisand" and "Tom Cruise In A Closet" without "Carol Burnett mopping up salty goo in her maid outfit."
It has to go both ways. In the same way Carol Burnett probably made fun of pop culture references in her day (albeit 40s, 50s and 60s references), Family Guy gets to do it too. In the same way that 20th century fox didn't sue Comedy Central for their two-part South Park about Family Guy, Carol Burnett should have done the same.
I can only imagine how frustrating it must be for Carol Burnett to go from a world of three television networks where she was a star, to a world where Paris Hilton is celebrity royalty. But that's life. That's the passage of time for you.
Today's big deal is tomorrow's "who the hell" and you just have to hope you have saved enough money, and have enough real friends, that when all the flash and heat fades, you're fine.
Pronunciation: 'per-&-dE, 'pa-r&-
1 : a literary or musical work in which the style of an author or work is closely imitated for comic effect or in ridicule
It's for all of us, or none of us. And just because you're done with it now, doesn't mean the rest of us are.
Monday, March 12, 2007
However, in the whole arena of "why do writers seem to get more respect" than animators (I put the word seem in there, pointing out that again, from my perspective, there is respect), I think the above question is valid.
Most writers have agents. Most animators don't.
When those of us with representation walk into a studio, by the time we've gotten there, we've had somebody besides us hammering the studio for the best deal, a clear delineation of our duties, our pay, our end dates... all the important stuff. In my mind, this gives us a few legs up at the start of our term of employment:
* At no point did we, personally, have to compromise with anyone for our jobs. We stayed out of it. We walk in knowing we got the best deal we could get, and weren't taken advantage of by past relationships.
* Our agents deal with the studio (or production company) - not the line producer. Which means you're not negotiating with the person that you're going to end up working for. It takes the "what if I push too hard" out of the equation.
* Having a lawyer that works in entertainment in conjunction with an animation agent, or an agent that does more than just animation, means you have somebody negotiating for you that treats the deal like a "television deal," not a "cartoon deal." That person isn't going to care about minimums, they're going to fight for what they believe you deserve. They're not going to settle for "the raise everybody else gets," they're going to push for what you want.
All of that, I think, adds up to that person walking into their first day of the job with momentum, respect and boundaries.
My point isn't that people who take jobs without an agent get screwed - only the person with the job can answer that. My point is, with representation, you're walking into a negotiation the same way a writer, a director, a producer or an executive producer, walks into that job.
Yes, an agent costs 10%. A lawyer costs 5% or, perhaps, an hourly fee. The question then becomes... is it worth it?
Again, I want to stress - this is not a slam at the union. Unions represent everyone (ideally), but they have to do so with minimums, and broad ones at that. I believe that you need someone in your corner that goes for the most you can get, not the least that's allowed.
But I also believe that person cannot be you.
Those are my thoughts. Yours?
Friday, March 9, 2007
* When you look in people's windows - which is impossible NOT to do because some of these places are at street level - you see bookcases. But, unlike a lot of places in LA, those bookcases don't feel like they're for show.
You actually feel like at some point, somebody's having a conversation and goes "Oh... wait... hang on..." and pulls down a reference. Hell, they probably do that in the midst of Trivial Pursuits.
* I saw the apartment complex that Opie lives in. (The one that makes movies and was on the Andy Griffith Show, not the one that does morning radio.)
* Twice while I was out in the last two days I saw people showing proofs for their books - books that were mostly art, with some writing surrounding it. These were kid books, obviously, but still... interesting to me, considering some of the conversations here.
* In a 24 hour town, there are people writing on their laptops at coffee houses past two o'clock in the morning.
And finally, and probably most importantly:
* Regardless of where you are in the city, if you've got the flu, you can get Nyquil at any time of the evening. This isn't necessarily a writing observation, unless you're Hunter S. Thompson and need to see pretty swirly things, but I was still thrilled.
New York makes me a little wistful, as I lived here for a short period of time in the late '80s, and really loved it here. But I also knew if I wanted to write for television, I had to live in Los Angeles. But if you could do what you do anywhere, where would you choose to do it?
Me: #1 choice - Madison, Wisconsin. #2 choice - Manhattan.
Tomorrow: Off to see Avenue Q. Very excited.
P.S. I do, very much, love New York. But then I saw an Olive Garden. In a non-touristy area. Where there are nothing but great Italian restaurants. It's like putting a PF Changs in Beijing for God's sake..
Sunday, March 4, 2007
Don't say because it's pretty, because that's not the point of the post.
It's either well written action, comedy, drama... whatever. The drawings can look like ass for all I care (in this post). I'm simply wondering... what cartoon do you turn on (download, watch via the web) because of the words?
Saturday, March 3, 2007
I'm at the US Comedy Arts Festival in Aspen - watching stand up comedians, sketch artists, improv groups... There's also a very large film festival here, with full length films... shorts... stuff like that.
A lot of agents and managers are here to sign and look for new talent, and more than a few people are here looking to find new comedic voices to write for them... which got me thinking about the different paths toward a person's first shot, and how the very path in which writers and artists are found and hired shapes their feelings toward each other.
My story first, if you'll indulge me.
My first job was writing on Johnny Bravo. To say I had little idea of what I was doing is an understatement. Whether it was jokes that were inappropriate for children's television, or simply mediocre animation story telling, I was learning on the job and I knew it. As I'm sure, by the way, did every artist on that show.
I'm sure I came off as a jackass. I'm sure, at points, I still do. :)
Couple that with the fact that since I didn't know whether my first job would be my last job, I split my attention between comedy and writing animation, with most of my chips on comedy. But by the end of the season - when cartoons started coming back, and I started seeing my words turned into the kind animated stuff I loved as a kid... it became something I wanted to continue doing.
I admit that now, but I didn't know then, obviously. What I knew about the HOWS of animation you could fit in a thimble, although that didn't diminish my enjoyment of it. And my desire to get better at it. And my being thrilled to find a new way to do what I loved to do - write comedy - in a different format.
But that's how I got my shot. I could have been a car crash, I could have been brilliant... I was... something of a fender bender that learned, I think, as I went. And I think that's a learning curve that writers get, that artists get much less of.
Correct me if I'm wrong - because these are just theories - but when an artist gets his or her first job, it's based on a portfolio. Be it boards, character designs, student films... there's a body of work that shows a network, a studio, or a producer that that artist can handle a job. The opportunity might be a position a level or two above the one they've done before - but you pretty much know what you're getting... it's right there on the page.
Its different for writing. Because you have to take so much more on faith. Yeah, somebody can write a great spec script, but you don't know how long it took. Yeah, you can read a great freelance script from another show, but you never know how much others put into it. And yes, you can test writers with freelance scripts... but you never know how they'll do on a production schedule, and you have to cut slack for them not knowing the characters as well as you do.
So, consequently, writers get hired with a lot less certainty in their skills than artists. But once you're hired, you're hired. You'd have to kick an employee in the face, or pee in the Executive Producer's office, to be let go.
I'm sure, as an artist with talent who can execute their job to the standards in which they were hired, looks at a shaky writer who cranks out one, two or three scripts that need work (but hopefully improve along the way) and it triggers an arched eyebrow, or an annoyed grumble.
Artists don't get to suck when hired. Mostly because, you probably don't. You've got a big ass portfolio of not sucking to prove it. If your designs don't match the show, it's obvious pretty fast. If your boards don't work with the show, you learn that after one pitch. If your timing blows, you see it fast. And so on and so on and so on. Even if you're a bit hacky, if you're hacky in the way the show wants you to be hacky, you're probably not going anywhere.
But writing is subjective... and if you (producer / studio) have seen somebody KILL on stage, and make a room or a theater roar with laughter, you already have somebody saying "This person HAS to be hilarious!"
Whether they can tell a story or not is the surprise.
I saw several comics today I would love to come in and pitch the shows I work on. If I like the logline, it'll go to premise. If I like the premise, it'll go to outline. If I like the outline, it'll go to script. That person gets to follow their idea all the way up until the point where it's obvious they're still looking for the skillset to do this regularly. and if they write a great script, they'll get a second one. It's only fair.
An untested comedy writer's portfolio is the script writing process - the ability to learn by doing on someone else's dime, really. Artists don't get that luxury, and I think that's another thing that drives a wedge.
I don't have a solution on this one. I don't even have a theory. But I do think it's one more perceived unfairness that creates tension.
How do you hire a new writer, without burdening or marginalizing established artists?